Every once in a while a drummer comes along whose unique style goes well beyond the bounds of their genre. Whether it is found in their playing, their appearance, or a combination of the two, these drummers stand out among their peers. One such player is Sean Fuller who is the powerhouse timekeeper behind Florida Georgia Line, one of the most successful country duos to come along in recent years. When watching Sean play three things are immediately noticed.
First, you notice his passion for playing. Sean performs full on with fervor for entertainment. His motions are intentionally exaggerated to reach the fans in the back of the arena.
Second, you notice the massive size of his drum kit which is much larger than most country drummers. In fact his rig pays tribute to the days of the larger-than-life setups used by heavy metal drummers. With three bass drums and a mass of toms and cymbals, Sean’s literally surrounded himself with the tools of his trade.
The third thing you notice when watching Sean is his unique appearance which harkens to the days of 80’s hair bands. Decked out in neon headbands, matching sunglasses and black concert t-shirts Sean doesn’t look anything like a typical country drummer. His style is all his own. (Not surprising Sean has even licensed his look with his own signature clothing line “Be The Beast.”) This week Sean was kind enough to explain what makes him tick…
Tell us about your influences and how they have affected how you play today.
Big drum sets and larger than life playing has always been my forte though not at all what I am limited to in that aspect of playing drums. I’m 43 years young and in my teenage adolescence, what I am currently doing was nothing new. It was the “norm” back in the day. That said I absolutely pay tribute to the drummers that inspired and motivated me. When I was young and went to see a much younger Tommy Lee, Tommy Aldridge, Neil Peart, or Peter Criss, I could name a hundred more…. all larger than life players that were the driving force behind this style of play. When you went to see them play there was a certain command they had over the audience. That feeling gave me goose bumps. It wasn’t that they needed everything they had on stage, but as a spectator who went to see these drummers you already had a mindset that they were going to rock before they played one note.
So their appearance was an extension of their showmanship.
All of us that went to concerts both young and old can remember when you walked into the arena and saw the stage set up, your eyes were wide open anticipating seeing something amazing that was going to happen during the show. Your heart raced. You couldn’t help but be drawn in the air of excitement around you. Everything surrounding you from all the lights hanging from the rafters to the focal point of the stage which is, of course, the drum set, made up your mind that this was going to be an epic concert. All shows would ultimately be compared to other concerts you had already been to. This is where I come in. I remember these feelings from my youth and now that I have been blessed enough to be part of that focal point on stage, I’m taking full advantage of it, not just for myself but for all the spectators that have those same feelings that I did when I went to a concert.
Now you are the one entertaining and inspiring the audience.
Here’s the thing…we as musicians and artists make a pretty decent wage doing what we do. For God’s sake we get to play music for a living. I personally can think of several jobs I had growing up that sucked. How I describe my job now is this…I provide a “temporary vacation” for 15-20,000 people, 3-6 nights a week. That is a big responsibility. People nowadays have several choices of where they can spend their hard earned dollar. If it’s between an FGL show, or a movie, or a football game…I take it upon myself to make sure it’s an FGL show. No matter what is going on in my personal life, I drop it all before the stage and make sure not one person leaves dissatisfied. That my friends, is why I love what I do.
So your goal is to captivate the audience.
Absolutely. That is why I love putting together big or different kits. That sets me apart from the “normal” country drummer. I love giving a performance that everyone is talking about the next day. “DID YOU SEE THAT DRUMMER WITH THE PANTERA SHIRT AND SHADES AND SPANDEX?” Thing is, I’m not really doing anything that’s so out there that its distracting. I am simply having a great time on stage and making it a party every night I am up there. There are a whole lot of amazing drummers out there that can sit back, do their job, collect a paycheck and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, there are a whole lot of artists who prefer their backing musicians to stay in the shadows. I’m not that guy and my artists want me to be a visual aspect of the show.
Is that where you find your own satisfaction?
I always strive to make my performance for my guys and band bigger and better always. It’s what I call the “perks” to the job! When we have a good time on stage, everyone in the building is sharing in that good time atmosphere. It’s addicting and if I have an addiction, it’s loving what I do and knowing I may, in some small way, be changing a young kids life, career path, or brightening someone’s day. I love when I hear things like… “You don’t need three bass drums for country.” My answer to that statement is “Your right!” You don’t need what I put on that stage at all! But, if you love having a good time. If you love a great concert. If you love being around thousands of your fellow fans that know when they go see an FGL show that it’s always going to be bigger and better…you should come see this.
For more visit Sean online at:
“Be The Beast” website: http://bethebeast.bigcartel.com/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/seanfullerrocks/